The Information (2011) by James Gleick is a nonfiction book that covers the major developments in communications engineering leading to the synthesis of information theory by Claude Shannon in the 20th century. Gleick presents an intriguing overview of early modes of communication such as African
talking drums which mimics the syllabary of tribal spoken languages over long distances, and the Paris telegraph network where messages were sent in semaphore fashion between windmill-like towers. The rough details on information theory are presented in such historical contexts. Gleick also presents the history of advancements in computer technology by Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing and John von Neumann which enabled and shaped the modern communications infrastructure which Shannon's work as an engineer addressed. In the last three chapters, Gleick tries to show the impact of information theory on our (layman's) world (e.g. Wikipedia) and scientific fields not directly related to communications (although the chapter on genetics fails to connect biological sequence analysis specifically with Shannon entropy).